Hyperion Sector (AKA The Colonies of The Line)
One of the oldest sectors, Hyperion was one of the first regions explored after the core worlds were settled during the First Expansion Period. Because of the distances involved between the core worlds and the actual habitable worlds of the sector, it became fairly independent, even after the founding of the Terran Protectorate.
Most of the sector is dedicated to mining and penal colonies. There are many young stars with vast asteroid fields and rocky planets made of heavy metals, planetary nebula remnants and the like. However, the most well-known features of the sector these days are its inhabited worlds, known as the Colonies of the Line.
Since the forming of the Terminus Line, these planets have become fortress worlds, fully militarized settlements dedicated to guarding humanity's back door against incursions from beyond The Line from the Sea of Dead Stars. It has become a religion reaching fanatical proportions in some places, giving rise to the Inquisition Fleet, a unification of all the planetary militias of the sector, a complete and separate entity from the Protectorate's Stellar Navy (though most of its officers are navy trained). The Inquisition, and most residents of the Colonies of the Line, believe that humanity is constantly being secretly attacked by alien influences from beyond the Terminus Line, and they have plenty of circumstantial evidence to back it up.
The Inquisition regularly reports engagements with strange alien vessels, and Inquisitors and Templars frequently are engaged in combat with people they claim have been possessed, or infected by something known as "the Corruption." The Terran Protectorate high command has determined that they are chasing shadows and using superstition and the (admittedly very real) threat of the unknown and frightening creatures from beyond the Terminus Line to keep the residents of the sector under thumb. However, since the Inquisition has not violated any of the Protectorate Compacts, the Terran Protectorate has no need to get involved. The colonies are given a great amount of latitude in how they operate.
In reality, there is truth to both sides. Yes, there are threats from beyond the Line attacking humanity quietly, probing its defenses, and simply engaging in chaos and carnage. However, whether it is a coordinated effort is questionable. But the Inquisition most certainly uses the threat to solidify its control over the Colonies of the Line, building its own independent military force stronger and stronger, with a fleet and army to rival most empires.
Those Who Stand the Line have sacrificed their freedoms, their dreams and some would say they too often sacrifice their humanity to defend against the untold horrors that assault them.
Defending against the evils of the Orion Expanse and Sea of Dead Stars has become a holy crusade and anyone who is not counted among the faithful and righteous are suspect. Anyone caught using psychic powers toward a nefarious goal (which generally means not in service to the Line) is suspected of being a heretic. Heretics are to be purged.
Non-humans of any kind are not trusted, and only the Xintrin and Nix, close enough to have regular contact, are truly tolerated for any length of time.
The Colonies of the Line have amassed a massive militia fleet, known as the Inquisition Fleet, and work closely together coordinating defenses. They are almost a separate government within the Terran Protectorate...which has some worried. But the Inquisition Fleet has turned back incursions by the Berylan, the Vinali Ravagers, and things for which there are no name, all while allowing the Stellar Navy to focus on the Arkhon threat, so there have been no formal complaints.
Those Who Stand the Line view the "soft" humans from other parts of the Protectorate and the Free Colonies with growing contempt. This comes both from their ever increasing isolation and from the disdain shown to them by the "sophisticated" people of the Core Worlds, who still do not fully believe in these invisible enemies that Those Who Stand the Line claim to fight. So there is little interaction between the Colonies of the Line and the rest of the Protectorate. Even the stellar navy rarely ventures to the Line, and that's only for the occasional inspection. The Colonies of the Line are left to their own devices.
This is in part because the Protectorate fears antagonizing them. It has not gone unnoticed that the Line Colonies have virtually united as one entity and that they are growing more and more alienated. The Protectorate fears another rebellion, like the one that lead to the creation of the Free Colonies, except this time there's little likelihood that it would be bloodless.
For the rest of humanity, the Colonies of the Line are seen as a backwater area which serves mostly as the Protectorate's penal system. The fortress worlds, as they are known, hold massive prison facilities and are awash in exiles, usually the worst of the worst. The Inquisitors take murderers, rapists and the like and aim their aggressive tendencies toward an enemy that can be killed and abused without sympathy, giving sociopaths and psychopaths the belief that they were given "gifts" of violence and brutality for the good of all mankind. The worst of the worst are given psychic minders who keep their bloodlust calm until it is needed.
The rest of the population not only accepts hardship, it worships it. A soft life is a weak life that leads one to be open to evil influence. Pain is cleansing, a reminder of life and death, and a verification that you still live.
If there is an alien invasion coming, and it chooses to come through the Colonies of the Line, it will find the humans there to be implacable foes of evil, willing to sacrifice everything to defend humanity. However, the longer there is no attack, no invasion, the more likely the contempt the colonists feel will turn to poison, and the more likely they are to unleash an Inquisition, and their vast armada, on the rest of the Protectorate itself...for what they believe would be humanity's own good.
All of this makes the Colonies of the Line a stew of intrigue, danger, and sometimes outright horror, with adventuring visitors caught between asteroid miners trying to keep their independences from the Inquisition, the growing tension between the sector and the Protectorate, vast penal colonies, and the terrors from the Sea of Dead Stars, which sometimes masquerade in human form.
Major Planets of Hyperion Sector